Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.
This is the second time I have read this book, and it was definitely better the first time I read it. However, it is still a wonderful Cinderella retelling, with enough of the fairy tale to count it as a retelling, but plenty of original story that it is not predictable at all.
Series: The Lunar Chronicles, Book 1
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
This is the second time I have read this book, and it was definitely better the first time I read it. However, it is still a wonderful Cinderella retelling, with enough of the fairy tale to count it as a retelling, but plenty of original story that it is not predictable at all. Cinder takes place in the future, in the city of New Beijing, after the 4th World War. Cinder is a cyborg with no memory of how she came to be one, or what her life was like before living with her stepmother Adri and stepsisters Peony and Pearl. She is well-known as the best mechanic in the city, and one day her life changes forever with a visit from Kai, Crown Prince of the Eastern Commonwealth, who is looking to have his special android fixed. What happens next is nothing like your typical Cinderella retelling, with layers of other plots and ideas interwoven to make it completely unique.
Kai’s character was charming, but he always surprised me with his directness. I loved the character of Iko, Cinder’s android friend who has an especially teenage girl-like personality chip. Cinder seemed very realistic, having just the right amount of attitude, sarcasm and teen spirit to make her come to life.
What annoyed me the most about this book (and I know I am not the only one), was the abrupt ending. There is absolutely no conclusion to this book, but leaves off on a horrible cliffhanger until the next book, Scarlet, picks the story back up. I was also a little confused about how little it seemed to matter to Kai that Cinder was just a poor mechanic, while her cyborg-ness seemed to Cinder to be a huge gap between them. (Spoiler!) One more thing that both confused and irritated me was how quickly it seemed that Cinder and the rest of her family got over Peony’s sudden illness and death. Yes, Cinder was distraught for a chapter, but after that it seemed to fade well into the background. I am sort of happy that it didn’t completely break Cinder and make the book be all about Peony’s death, but it was a little off-putting.
All in all, Cinder was a wonderful story that combined many usually unrelated genres into a single book. The futuristic world Cinder lives in was very well-developed, with new inventions (such as hovers, port screens, and ID chips) and governmental systems. I look forward to continuing with the adventure in Scarlet and Cress, and waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for Winter, the final book, released next year.